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Can A Swimming Pool Heat Pump Be Installed Indoors?

Can a Swimming Pool Heat Pump be Installed Indoors?

Indoor swimming pools have always been popular, especially in regions where cold winters take the fun out of swimming outdoors. Not only are indoor pools easier to maintain, since there is little debris to find its way into the water, but you can also enjoy a swim regardless of the weather.

“If it is a good idea to have your swimming pool indoors,” some pool owners ask, “can a swimming pool heat pump also be installed indoors?” As much as it may seem like a good idea locate all of your pool gear inside, your heat pump should actually remain in the great out-of-doors. Let’s see why. We will begin by, briefly, discussing how a heat pump works.

A swimming pool heat pump, in the simplest terms, pulls heat from the surrounding air and transfers that heat into the pool water. The typical residential swimming pool heater needs large amounts of fresh air to transfer heat properly. The system refrigerant pulls heat out of the air, causing the refrigerant to become warmer. The heat pump then transfers this heat to the pool water, making it warmer. The air leaving the system is usually 8-12 degrees cooler than the air entering the system.

If the heat pump were installed indoors—a closed environment, it would re-circulate the same air, rather than using fresh air. As a result, the indoor air would quickly be cooled, and the unit would soon shut down because it would no longer be able to draw sufficient heat from the surrounding air. Case in point: the AquaCal Service Team has encountered units installed in garages. On a sunny day, with an outside temperature of 80°F, the indoor temperature would be as low as 35°F when the swimming pool heat pump was running and the garage doors were closed. This situation seriously impedes the operation of the unit.

This unit chilled this space in about 10 minutes from 85°F to 67°F

In other applications, recognizing the need for fresh air to supply to the swimming pool heat pump, installers have attached duct work to units to remove the cool air leaving the unit and to bring fresh, warmer air to the system. However, the propeller style fans used to move air through the system are not designed to work against any significant resistance to air flow, which is exactly what a duct system presents. This resistance to the free flow of air through the heat pump leads to loss of performance and potential component failure. For this reason, using duct work to move air to and from an indoor heat pump is not a viable solution.

This unit kept cycling off on FS (defrost) and temp outside was in the 90’s

If you feel you have no option except to install your heat pump indoors, you should contact the manufacturer of your unit and advise them of your situation. They may be able to help you with a solution, but very rarely can units be made to work properly indoors. If you insist on installing your swimming pool heat pump indoors, you MUST provide a way to supply 3,500 CFMs of fresh air to your unit.

*The definition of CFM is (cubic feet per minute) of air travel. The term CFM is typically related to the HVAC industry.

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